In our previous article on, we shared a few ways that people can begin to step into their boldness. Now I'd like to use boldness as a spring-board for the "end-game:" leadership.
Put simply: to be bold, you must own your flaws and weaknesses. You have to admit to yourself and others where you could use some work. This is not to say that you should be driven or limited by your weaknesses. You shouldn't begin every task or plod through every goal constantly reminding yourself of where you might fail. Instead, you admit your flaws and then use your strengths to outmaneuver the shortcomings. This is the sign of a leader. To find new ways to achieve something by focusing on your strengths while still understanding where you are not-so-great.
Great leaders and bold people try to improve on their weaknesses, but they don't wait to "perfect" their skills; they know there's no such thing as perfect. When opportunity knocks, you shouldn't scramble to get 100% in time to perfectly execute it. You've got to run through the door before it closes. Leadership also means giving the reigns to others. When a leader knows that the iron is hot, it takes guts to delegate it to someone else. This is humility to the most effective degree: admitting someone is better than you so that everyone can reap the rewards of success.
You must also accept that "failure" is just a synonym for "learning opportunity." You can't be afraid to fail. You'll learn that failure isn't a catastrophe — it's a neccessary and beneficial part of the journey.
Speaking and Thinking Boldly
Bold leaders speak up and speak up often. That's not to say that introverts can't be bold leaders — they most certainly can. But even introverted leaders need to put their foot down. To be bold, you must be unapologetic in your methods of bringing out the best in others. You know that their success is tied to the success those around them. Like we mentioned in the last article: boldness doesn't mean outright aggression. While you shouldn't fear honesty when pointing out the weaknesses in your team and employees, you should be just as likely to praise and reward jobs well done. Intuitively, you know what's good for morale in the long run and do what's necessary to motivate and reorient your team.
Bold leaders think outside of the box ALL THE TIME! They recognize the importance of being open-minded and flexible in certain circumstances and recognize when it’s important to stand their ground, firmly and respectfully.
You've got to enjoy the small wins! Optimism and positivity are infectious, and they can only make your team stronger. Lead by example. When you get a small victory, celebrate it. Use that momentum to take the next step.
The Journey of a Thousand Miles
While these are a few of the characteristics of bold leaders, here are a few steps you can follow to insure you are on the bold leadership path to success:
You've got to think on your feet. When you get "comfortable" in your career, that's an alarm going off to tell you that it's time to move forward. Start thinking about next steps for your product or service. Think about new ways to separate yourself from the competition. Ask your team to gather for roundtables bi-weekly to brainstorm concepts and new ways of doing what you do best. Innovation comes naturally wne you spend time with others who share the same passion. Be sure that your team is as enthusiastic about the product as you are — the lightning-bolt moments will follow.
Focus on Results without losing sight of the relationships
The corporate environment we live in becomes more and more demanding each year. That bottom line always looms on the horizon, so it's almost impossible to ignore. But when it comes to results, you've got to consider the relationships behind the numbers. The situation isn't what makes you money in the end; it's the people.
- Customers and clients
- Top level execs & corner office
- Management & board of directors
- Your team and the people they lead
Remember that people choose to work with people. Most of the time, it's people they like. If you remember this crucial difference between a "business person" and a leader, you're on your way to getting more results than you ever have before.
Learn to communicate effectively
Stay on top of the lingo in your industry just so you know your way around the literature. Don't overuse jargon when you're explaining it to people outside that "inner circle" of experts. Explain things in clear terms and don't sugar-coat the truth. People really do appreciate honesty in the long run. It builds stronger relationships and prevents massive disappointments over long stretches of "putting out the fires."
Always find the opportunity in every situation
Be able to find both the positive and negative in every situation. You can do this in any way you want, but a pros and cons list can work wonders to help you discover all the great that can come out of something seemingly negative. Use those pros as proof that things can be fixed. Use the cons as warnings and lessons for the future.
Become a pro at finding, retaining and relying on top talent (great delegators)
Any leader can lead but great leaders can lead by creating more leaders. Focusing on the fact that your success should be based on the success of others will make you much more effective and much more respected.
Always follow through
Do what you say you’re going to do and always follow through and over-deliver on promises. When you start slacking on what you promise, people realize it and you'll find no better way of alienating your tribe.
The efforts of your team should be recognized, rewarded and appreciated. After all, a great leader is only as great as the people they are leading. Show your team that you appreciate them with praise and incentives. Be on the lookout for extraordinary work that deserves praise and show gratitude verbally and through your actions. It can only stand to make your team stronger.
This is the greatest advice a leader can ever receive. It prevents what we often fear most — becoming an arrogant successful fool that nobody likes. Be humble and recognize your weaknesses. Praise those around you and bring those up who need help. Recognize that there is always more to learn and, in turn, you will always find lessons to learn.